Dad Clarke

  • Card series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Chicago
  • Team: White Stockings
  • League: National League

William H. Clarke (1865-1911) learned early why the major leaguers get the big bucks: he had uniformly outstanding success on the mound in the minors with an overall 1.81 ERA. Things were always tougher with the big clubs: an ERA of 4.16 and a journeyman record of 44-51 during seven seasons. Dad’s best year came with the Giants in 1895 where he won 18 with a 3.39 ERA. Things must have looked different when he came out of Lorain, OH to the Sandusky Suds in 1887 winning 21 with a rookie ERA of 1.13. Similar results followed in Des Moines and Omaha. Clarke even got to do a turn out west with the San Francisco Haverlys and a short stay with the Jacksonville (IL) Lunatics where it must have maddened him to go 3-3 despite a 0.87 ERA. Always a strong-willed character (the nickname reflected a grizzled visage), Dad sparred and stormed through a long up-and-down career.

  • Per SABR, Dad’s innovative “system” of pitching “slants” influenced Big Train Johnson to perfect his own motion

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